Chinoyo’s No water , No Moon (Koan)

“With this and that I tried to keep

the bucket together,

and then the bottom  fell out. 

Water does not collect,

Moon does not dwell.”

By Chiyono – Mugai Nyodai — Japan’s first female Zen Master. (Koan are short stories or poems of enlightenment). Chinoyo was a servant in a Zen convent who wanted to practice Zazen. One day she approached an elderly nun and asked, “I am of the humble birth. I can’t read or write and must work all the time. Is there a possibility that I could attain the way of Buddha even though I have no skill?”

The nun answered her, “ This is wonderful, my dear! In Buddhism there are no distinctions between people. There is only this – each person must hold fast to the desire to awaken and cultivate a heart of great compassion. People are complete as they are. Only if you don’t fall into delusive thoughts, there is no Buddha and no sentient being: there is only one complete nature. If you want to know your true nature you need to turn toward the source of your delusive thoughts. This is called Zazen.

After months of practice Chinoyo attained great realisation with the above koan. When she went to draw water from the well on a full moon night. The bottom of her old bucket, held together by the bamboo strips, suddenly gave way and the reflection of the moon in the bucket too vanished with the water[1]. This story is taken from the book ‘The hidden lamp.’ Courtesy my good friend Radha Sharma.

This Koan gave me the whole new opening to look into my bucket. We all carry our bucket so happily & proudly, on that ‘I’ across our shoulders. So happy, when we peek into the bucket the moon is walking with us, always! Like we know it All. Only when the bottom of bucket gives up we realize the Moon is also gone.

So let me introduce you all to my bucket, (have been holding on the weight, since time alone knows.) As a little girl, prayers where always meant to be a ticket of return gifts. Standing in front of Ganesha every evening repeating Bappa “Sukh de Budhi de” Knowing well Sukh was that candy or far far an ice cream and Budhi was just passing exams. Later in tween years witnessing drama at home my bucket was secluded under the quilt, like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ leading to a Pandora of imaginative dreaming. Meanwhile dwelling a rebel within to prove Self. Trying always to show that am good for everything. Then, just wanted to be famous and travel a lot, away from this whole drama of life. Dreaming of being an Airhostess or a Television News Anchor. (Did achieve the later).

At home for both my parents God was rested in humble service of humanity. There was no temple of God. Few basic photo frames of Ganesha, Laxmi and Satyanarayan adorned the kitchen rack (shelf) only to be worshipped on occasions like Diwali. My neighbor Aunty was an ardent follower of Saint Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegoan (Maharashtra); she used to read the Pothi. To cut the story short, me too became ardent follower of Maharaj; he is also known to be elder brother of Baba Sai.

Growing up realizing that the path of life was the most dreaded and difficult. At an early age got introduced to Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegoan. Reading his Pothi. Answers started flowing. All this while guiding angels kept showing the light. But spirituality was no were close, all meanings where attached to materialistic gains. Gradually the desire to have a living Guru surfaced. The testing time started, moving from one Guru to other. But never felt like I was in love with any Guru. It was just following with the crowd.

One day coming across ‘If Truth be told – Monks Memoir’ and ‘Om Swami – As we know him’, these two books changed the course of approach. Finally reached my destination. Got initiated and could proudly flaunt.


Ohh! But hold on my bucket is still empty.


Being student of philosophy, question of Existentialism became heat of the moment. Now here comes the gist, the philosophy boils down to Mind. Discussing (though warned by GuruDev – not to do so) my Guru and your Guru, thoughts of how Swamiji so easily walks into her dreams. For  others he was Sakha- lover, Father, Brother and Mother. For me it was plain Guru. At times though as Ma swaroopa. Very rarely had danced with Him.

So why not he came into my dreams? what’s wrong with me? So much guilt of not doing my sadhana, all this kept filling my bucket. It got so heavy that my ‘I’ snapped from social media and friends. Finding recluse in self and Source. But this time of seclusion and silence gave immense power to connect to my Source. Writing this during my seclusion makes me so much aware of the bucket,that it all flows naturally. Got to search my ‘Inner peace’ like the Po from Kung Fu Panda.

This lockdown made me watch all series of movie Star Wars, ringing the alarm bell. Dialogue between Jedi Master Luke and aspirant Jedi RE … “find the balance around everything, that is the FORCE. This force flows through all.” This Force never sounded like it did now Lol.

Finally came across this beautiful Koan…. ‘This and that am carrying’…Yes! Still carrying…. Waiting for my Master to snap the strings of my old bucket. And realize that the Truth is far Form,what am seeking outside. Am still holding the reflection of the Moon. While the Moon is shinning bright over me, my Master my Guru my Tathagat.

My Master’s story, which makes me aware “Don’t see the fingure pointing at the Moon see the Moon”…. Yet am blindfolded….

Have mercy my Master Kindly snap the strings of my bucket, let the Force flow. Make me the best medium of yours to serve one and all.


Thank you,

Obeisance to my Master

Love to all readers …

Let His Grace snap the buckets we are carrying, leading us to Realisation.

[1] Book – The Hidden lamp: Stories from Twenty five centuries of awakened women



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